View Full Version : NTSB Panel Renews Call for Cameras in Cockpits
27th Jul 2004, 16:44
Associated Press article (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/COCKPIT_VIDEOS?SITE=PAYOK&SECTION=HOME)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Safety officials are stepping up pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration to require video cameras in cockpits so accident investigators will have better information on what causes plane crashes.
The National Transportation Safety Board launched a two-day hearing Tuesday to renew its call for large and small planes to be equipped with crash-resistant cockpit image recorders.
"We need to light the fires," said National Transportation Safety Board member Carol Carmody, who will chair the hearing. The NTSB recommended that the FAA require large aircraft to be equipped with cameras four years ago.
Open link for the complete article.
27th Jul 2004, 22:20
Can't see the problem with cameras in the flightdeck as long as there is an erase button like the CVR. If you aren't around to push the button you aren't going to care whats on the tape are you.
27th Jul 2004, 22:57
It seems most pilots are opposed to these cameras. Is it because:
1. There is a fear that the content will be used to further micromanage. (Hey, they got time to do *this*)
2. Unofficial "procedures" will be detected. (Stuff that's ok with everyone until management finds out about it)
3. Workplace intrusion. (I'm a professional, damnit!)
4. Misintrepretation of actions during the event. (This is the reason quoted in the article)
5. All of the above. (I thought so)
I can certainly see many opportunities for management to abuse such a system.
27th Jul 2004, 22:58
Forty thousand plus people a year die on US roads. Where is the NTSB here? I guess they figure that number is acceptable.
Put a camera in new cars, outside every bar, on every street, traffic signal and intersection first, if this is really about safety (which IMO, it isn't).
If eighty fully loaded B747's crashed annually I'd be at the front of the line demanding change too.
This is purely an ill advised knee jerk solution for an imaginary problem. I suspect that if pilots demanded CABIN cameras be installed on all US airplanes people would be up in arms regarding their civil liberties being compromised (wouldn't want the CEO and his secretary's "business trip" to be recorded visually).
CNN and Fox must be licking their lips at this possibility. All the promises in the world will not prevent the insatiable appetite for shock value news coverage becoming an outlet for such video.
The NTSB cites the Egypt Air crash as a reason to install cockpit cameras.
They conveniently fail to mention that even if the FAA mandates installation on US registered airplanes, the Egyptian airline would not be required to have cockpit cameras installed.
Flying is THE safest form of mass transportation. Further big brother oversight will not improve its safety record.
However, better digital flight data recorders WILL. The US airlines cannot afford the expense of this additional and unnecessary oversight.
27th Jul 2004, 23:07
Wouldn't your wife and kids love the chance to see your last few minutes of terrorifying agony, only to know that they share this footage with every freak in the world.
As for the legislation, usually the US is arrogant enough to mandate it for every aircraft entering US airspace (and in the process give some government funding to prevent bankruptcy of their majors).
28th Jul 2004, 01:13
Pilots Oppose Call for In - Cockpit Cameras
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 27, 2004
Filed at 8:44 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Airline pilots are dead set against putting cameras in cockpits as safety officials step up the pressure to require them as an aid to accident investigation and prevention.
The National Transportation Safety Board launched a two-day hearing Tuesday to renew its call for all civilian planes to be equipped with crash-resistant cockpit image recorders.
Four years ago, the NTSB recommended that the FAA require large aircraft to be equipped with cameras four years ago, but the FAA still hasn't done it. Subsequently, NTSB added small planes to their recommendation.
NTSB senior air safety investigator Frank Hilldrup said cockpit image recorders would produce faster and more accurate conclusions about the causes of aviation accidents.
``The technology exists, the costs are low and the need is here now,'' Hilldrup said during the hearing.
Supporting the idea was Ken Smart of the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch, who said cameras are used on military aircraft in the United Kingdom and are ``very, very useful'' in understanding the human actions that lead to airplane accidents.
Nonetheless, the idea of cameras in the cockpits drew strong opposition from airline pilots.
John David of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines, said having a camera monitor everything they do would affect their ability to perform.
``It's going to be very intrusive,'' David said. ``You always see the glass lens.''
The Air Line Pilots Association, the largest pilots union, issued a statement saying ``the benefits of video imaging are vastly overrated, because far more effective and efficient tools exist.''
Advocates of the devices said there are ways to protect pilots' privacy -- encrypting the information, for example, or pointing the cameras away from the pilots' heads and shoulders.
But one reason pilots oppose image recorders is that such promises were broken after they agreed to the introduction of cockpit voice recorders in the 1960s, the Air Line Pilots Association said in a statement submitted to the board.
Pilots had been told the tapes would be used for accident investigations only and wouldn't be publicly disclosed. But in 1989, a 6 o'clock news program played the cockpit voice recorder from Delta Flight 1141, which crashed on takeoff in Dallas. The crew and passengers survived.
Though laws were subsequently passed that limited the use of cockpit voice recordings, they are still used against pilots in criminal proceedings and disciplinary actions by employers, the statement said.
Airlines are skeptical of the cameras. They want a cost-benefit analysis done first before they have to pay for the devices.
The safety board maintains that cameras would have helped safety investigators understand the smoke and fire conditions in the cockpit of two deadly plane crashes: Swissair Flight 111, which crashed off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1998, and Valujet Flight 592, which plunged into the Florida Everglades in 1996.
Cameras could have helped investigators understand how the fires started, what the crews did to put them out and whether the crew managed to clear smoke from the cockpit. The safety board said such information might steer them toward modifying firefighting training, procedures or systems.
Cameras would have also helped answer questions about what happened in the cockpit of EgyptAir Flight 990 from New York to Cairo on Oct. 31, 1999, when the pilot apparently directed the plane into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nantucket.
Safety board member Carol Carmody said cameras would have also saved time and money in determining what caused the twin-engine plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone and seven others in Eveleth, Minn., on Oct. 25, 2002.
The safety board ultimately found the probable cause of the accident was the pilots' inattention to the aircraft's instruments. The Wellstone crash investigation gave rise to the recommendations that all small planes be equipped with crash-proof cameras.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the agency that would implement the NTSB's recommendations for aviation safety, has taken the first steps in developing technical standards for video recorders.
FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitalieri called the recorders ``an extra level of safety for aircraft.''
28th Jul 2004, 01:15
Assuming the video's on a 30-minute loop or something similar to CVRs, how real is the concern that management might use it to squeeze? Do management use CVR on a day-to-day basis? Given the present employment market for flight deck crews management should be able to enforce not just video but body sensors transmitting pulse, temperature, brainwave activity, the lot.
Try looking at it a different way, leaving management out. How many times has one said, when reminded by someone, "jesus did I really do/say that?" It's said that the most agreeable tool of memory is its ability to erase one's mistakes.
Imagine if you could have - and you know technology could deliver it today - your own video private library of all the hours, that you could edit automatically for, say ground, takeoff/climb, approach, landing etc.
Competitive athletes do it.
Yes, the key is privacy. I'd love to have something like that in my own business, stressful but earthbound; the problem would be the embarassment of others having access to the tapes. Hmmm.
28th Jul 2004, 07:48
I have only one reservation on the idea of flight deck cameras - The Media. :mad:
No matter what laws or regulations are passsed to prevent the unathourised use of the video - some git would (probably in league with their lawyer friends) find a way to titilate the nation by showing it on prime time.
I do not want my wife and daughter seeing my demise on a broadcast designed to boost ratings.
Don't say it won't happen. Time a time again these guys have proven their complete lack of morals.
28th Jul 2004, 13:17
With the continued development of datalink transmission it's quite likely that these cameras, once introduced would become viewable from the ground via real time connections. Why "store" the individual info in an onboard hard drive when it could be retrieved from a centrally located data store (which wouldn't be subject to aircraft accidents).
Pilots are subject to ever increasing scrutiny. at what point do we say "that's enough!" ?
Today in the US, a report claims that ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE THOUSAND people died needlessly in hospital operating rooms.
Where's the outcry? Every OK with this? 195.000+ friends and families missing their loved one's ough to cause a stir. Obviously, the NTSB is a transportation overseer but come on, let's get real.
If this is about saving lives let's spend the money where it needs to be spent. If it's about laziness on the part of the investigators. call it that.
The Swissair accident aircraft mentioned in the NTSB recommendation, not being FAA registered, would likely NOT have to have a camera installed.
Maybe the NTSB just wants to lighten it's load by putting a few airlines out of business through the burden of the expense to install the cameras.
I'm sure if the airlines publically stated that all such expense would be passed onto the passengers through increased fares the politicians would start to hear complaints against this from their constituents.
28th Jul 2004, 14:59
I fail to see what a few seconds of video footage depicting fervered activity on the F/D would add to an investigation that the CVR and DFDR hadn't already provided. Lets face it its that or 30 minutes of bugger all before the screen goes blank.
As for the arguement that it would assist in investigations such as the Swissair and Valuejet accidents surely the same fire that rendered the CVR, the flight instruments, the radios and transponders inoperative would have disabled the camera as well? That and a lot of acrid black smoke would leave the camera fairly well useless.
Anyone with experience of accident investigation got an opinion?
28th Jul 2004, 15:21
Just an example...
In a past life I driven buses for a living (road type not air:( ) and in London many of them have cameras all round, cab included, as do trains.
They have been used in hearings against drivers, eg, smoking in cab, having a pocket radio on, and the more serious, theft, using mobile phones while driving etc..
Big Brother is closing in and there is nothing any of us can do about it.:yuk:
28th Jul 2004, 20:29
This sounds like a good place for a post-it note.......
F/A "Gee, you guys don't do much up here"
Capt "That's what we do all the training for"
But what would Joe Public think if he saw half an hour in the cruise on TV? Perhaps they could use it as a test pattern or screen saver....
'A good pilots ultimate skill is avoiding situations where ultimate skill is essencial'
28th Jul 2004, 20:29
HAH...I wave my privates at your camera !!!
28th Jul 2004, 20:54
Sure, fit those cameras into the flight deck. Might find that a lot of pilots start chewing gum though...
"No sir, I have no idea how the lens came to be obstructed by cherry flavoured Hubba Bubba. Both the FO and I only chew original." :p
28th Jul 2004, 22:29
The cams will only be focused on the instrument panels, glareshield, pedestal and overhead panel. Pilots will not be in the picture. :)
29th Jul 2004, 02:05
I think Glueball's probably right. Rather a timid advance though.
We are filmed and big-brothered to an extent which would still have been unbelievable in 1984, but the essential elements missing are interpretation and integration. e.g 9/11; one wonders at what could have NOT happened had there been 10% integration as opposed to zilch.
One may be against flightdeck video for any number of reasons, including the possibility of family seeing the last seconds of a disaster via the press. I suspect, though, it's too emotional an argument. Without opening too many cans of worms, am I wrong in thinking there's been a tendency towards muzzling the press over the last ten years or so?
Re onthebuses's comments: how can a bus company afford to videotape the day and airlines - or unions - resist on the basis of cost?
29th Jul 2004, 07:43
broadreach: Assuming the video's on a 30-minute loop or something similar to CVRs, how real is the concern that management might use it to squeeze? Do management use CVR on a day-to-day basis?
Not sure about CVR, But, at least one Taiwanese operator routinely uses the Flight Data Analysis Program (the concept of which was supposed to be to monitor line operations safety using de-identified data obtained from the a/c flight recorder) on a daily basis to censure, punish and fine crews.
Digital cockpit video linked to homebase using in-flight Internet would seem to offer up wonderful new opportunities for such managements.
29th Jul 2004, 10:33
how can a bus company afford to videotape the day and airlines - or unions - resist on the basis of cost?
Simple, certification. You can do whatever you like to the inside of a bus. Start messing around with avionics and geting approvals and crashworthy moutings (couple of hundred G then a kerosene fire proof) and the cost just goes up and up.
More to the point why not try to get decent CVR.DFDRs installed. Emb 145 springs to mind, reading the reports it seems the Data drop out rates can all but render the installed DFDR pointless. Lets fix the technology we have before installing more.
29th Jul 2004, 21:24
Daysleeper sums it up..
Blow one of the ECU's on a Dennis Dart and so what?, worst case you will loose gears or something and grind to a hault at the side of the road. Not quite sure how they managed to pay for it on the railway though, I think they still get a full day and they often have spies out there downloading all manner of data including CCTV with a laptop from the back cab, takes a couple of minutes by all account.. Probably why these poxy new trains never work.
As I said before we are all now watched by big bro, I live in Surrey, the CCTV salesmans dream, it's not all bad, I felt much safer on a friday night when I was driving a bus with CCTV, however, it's open to abuse by the employer, and there is rumour that Transport for London have/ or are developing the ability to veiw any bus CCTV from their base in 55 Broadway..
Even more chewing gum sales......
CCTV in the F/D surely has no value, now in the cabin only would be a better idea, we all know how pleasant the travelling public can be don't we?
29th Jul 2004, 21:57
Heard that "cabin" CCTV was vetoed post 9/11 - can't have Mr Congressman & Miss Secretary's privacy violated! Don't remember manufacturer, but from a "fish-eye" lens, software can display normal "flat picture" imagery for any part of the flight deck. Data encrypted onto separate DFDR channel, only for use after serious incident/accident (same as CVR). Approvals & installation minimal (cost & equipment).
With dedicated pax screening not too far around the corner, I suspect that "pilot screening" by camera won't be that far behind. Not sure about those concrete safeguards for pilot privacy tho'....... one thought to consider - say the B737 rudder incidents - if the camera shows that the crew did every thing correctly, much more weight to successfully sue the aircraft manufacturer perhaps?? :hmm:
30th Jul 2004, 00:48
Daysleeper, thanks for the wakeup call; I hadn't thought it through. But I would't be too surprised if, once obligatory in a six-month timeframe, costs began to plummet in the same way as have those for all other sorts of electronic hardware.
But that's all beside the point; the real issue is whether it would be useful, flight deck or cabin.
31st Jul 2004, 03:40
Personally I'd like to see a video of the Fleet Manager's office to see what he does all day.
If they can watch videos of us at work then surely they'd be happy to let us watch videos of them?!!
31st Jul 2004, 04:44
How ironic for the FAA Spokeswoman Diane Spitalieri to mention an extra level of safety.
If the FAA had been interested in safety over the last several decades, they could have demonstrated their motivation in numerous ways, as with (much better) digital flight recorders on older planes having more channels. As for airlines which are allowed to fly into the US, the State Department's politics are behind some of the policy and "logic".
Many topics on Pprune have dealt with "legal" crew rest, or lack of it-all of these rules created and often not enforced by the FAA. How about supporting pilots who will be fired (sacked) if their aircraft suffers engine failure or engine fire, and the company fires pilots who declare an emergency under these conditions? I know at least three pilots who flew for such companies, i.e. DC-6s (-8s) and Learjets. For example, a North Carolina airport and Michigan's Willow Run Airport (YIP). If these pilots are not allowed by their employers to declare an emergency (even with fire and smoke visible from an old Pratt&Whitney recip; Tower controller "is everything ok?" "roger"), then how can the FAA be committed to safety? It is committed to DOCUMENTATION and, eh, appropriate "oversight".
The FAA's primary job is to protect their careers (...GS levels...) by generating paperwork to justify their existence, often in a random and arbitrary manner-check the unbelievably trivial reasons why Kiwi Airlines was initially shutdown (just after the Valujet disaster-Kiwi was selected as an easy target, in order to fool the public into believing in the FAA's ability to oversee).
As political appointees, one can just begin to imagine the motivations of certain functionaries.
31st Jul 2004, 04:48
How is your cabin crew feeling about the security camera in front of cockpit door. Ours permit to see in front of the door and forward galley.
Nobody ask what the cabin tought about it, but stangely since the forward galley is deserted during most of the flight......
31st Jul 2004, 08:09
Well how about a proposal to put cameras in managers offices? That would cause a scream of protest. A friend of mine works for a company that installed cameras for "security" reasons. The tapes would only be used in the case of break ins or theft. Yeah right. I helped him break into the feed and we inserted a load of porn into the system and waited for the reaction. 10 minutes later managers running round trying to find the feed. Funny no break ins reported at that time.
Other tricks have included using a PC to insert subliminal images into the feed to see who is watching! Results can be fun depending on the message.
:O :p :D